Edgar Allan Wrench

Time for a POP (phrasal overlap portmanteau), today in a Wayno/Piraro Bizarro strip: Edgar Allan Poe meets the Allen wrench:

(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page.)

The two contributions: Poe and his story “The Premature Burial”; and the Allen wrench, or hex nut, a device analogous to an ordinary screwdriver, designed to tighten or free up  specially designed screws or bolts with a recessed hexagonal slot in their head.

Buried alive, with the casket top screwed or bolted down? Reach for your Allen wrench!

The Poe. From Wikipedia:

“The Premature Burial” is a horror short story by American writer Edgar Allan Poe, published in 1844 in The Philadelphia Dollar Newspaper. Its main character expresses concern about being buried alive. This fear was common in this period and Poe was taking advantage of the public interest.

Roger Corman (the champion of B horror movies) made the story into his 1962 movie The Premature Burial, starring Ray Milland, Hazel Court, Alan Napier, and Heather Angel:


The earlier fear of being accidentally buried alive seems have been replaced in popular media, especially on television, by villainous live burial.

The wrench. From Wikipedia:

A hex key, Allen wrench or Allen key, is a simple tool used to drive bolts and screws with hexagonal sockets in their heads.

The tool is usually formed of a single piece of hexagonal rod of hard steel, with blunt ends that are meant to fit snugly into the screw’s socket, bent in an “L” shape with unequal arms. The tool is usually held and twisted by the long arm, creating a large torque at the tip of the short arm. Reversing the tool lets the long arm reach screws in hard-to-reach places.

(#3) A set of hex keys of various sizes (from Wikipedia)

Each key is meant to be used with screws of a specific socket size, with rather tight tolerances; so the tool is commonly sold in kits that include half a dozen or more keys of different sizes. Usually the length of the key increases with the size of the socket, but not necessarily in direct proportion.

… The “Allen” name is a registered trademark, originated by the Allen Manufacturing Company of Hartford, Connecticut circa 1910, and currently owned by Apex Tool Group, LLC. The standard generic name used in catalogues and published books and journals is “hex key”.

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